Thursday, October 27, 2011

Connecting or Disconnecting With Your Audience

When you write a book, or do anything creative, you have this idea that your readers will “get it”. Then the reviews come in and they aren’t what you expected. It isn’t going to be the next bestseller. The people you thought would read it aren’t reading it and those who are don’t have anything good to say.

I figure there are two reasons for this type of situation. One is that you failed in your job as an author. Your writing is terrible, but you aren’t willing to admit it. If that is the problem, there’s nothing I can do for you. No one can help you.

The other reason is that you connected with the wrong audience. I’ve noticed this with free Kindle books. People will download the book because it is free, but then they’ll complain because it isn’t a book that they want to read. They’ll claim the author can’t write, but in fact it is more likely that the author just wasn’t writing for them. As an example, consider the Dick and Jane books. They were great material if you were trying to teach a child to read, but if you were expecting a novel, you would think the author was unskilled.

To make it more realistic, if a mystery reader picks up a romance, he is likely to be disappointed, even if it is a well written romance. When something like that happens, ask yourself why a mystery reader is reading a romance. Perhaps it is the title. Perhaps it is listed in the wrong genre. Perhaps you’re hanging out with the wrong readers.

One way to fix the problem is to find a way to connect with the right readers. Or you can go the other way and try to write a book that the people who didn’t like your previous book will like. Why would you do that? Because they are your platform or as Seth Godin describes it, your “tribe”. You may not even know why these people connected with you, but they did.

What advantages/disadvantages do you see to each approach?